I’ll be home for Christmas…
or not. If you’re from Europe then maybe yes. But to be fair… the school schedule, flight prices, environmental consciousness, or most importantly, our student budget can stop us.
First of all, DON’T PANIC! You will not be the only one who stays in Sweden for Christmas. And you know what? I am going to make sure that you’ll feel comfortable and festive, staying in Sweden as well.
I still remember the time when I found myself in Mexico without my family at Christmas, and I just only turned 17… Before you start to feel sorry for me, don’t! It was absolutely my choice, and I was an exchange student there and spent probably one of the best years of my life in Mexico.
Dealing with homesickness is no joke. Don’t be ashamed. We will all be going through it in some ways. At the moment, I’m at the stage where I miss my dog the most (Well, she can’t be really FaceTime’d, right?).
Merry Christmas Baby
Now I can admit that in my first few months in a country where at the beginning I did not speak the language (Spanish) and English was barely spoken, I quickly felt alone, and I cried. I cried and complained, and I felt I wanted to go home. I Skyped (yes I am that old) my family in every minute, I begged them to let me go home and blamed them that they let me come. I socialized, and I tried to learn the language, I even made friends, and in general, I felt good there, but I missed them so much, and I didn’t realize that I was also breaking their hearts as well by sobbing all the time. Then my mom had a great idea. She said: “You can come home, but you need to try one more month. This month I will only call you once a week!” Did it work? Did I let myself enjoy my time there? Did I stay for more than a month? Oh, hell, yes! I did. I stayed for 10 more months, and I still cherish every single minute spent there.
The reason why I told you this story is because I KNOW. I know very well, how does it feel to be very far, and lonely…
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
Exactly! Not only Santa is coming, but the whole country will wear the most sparkly, most festive and shiny and – if you’re lucky – snowy dressing gowns that you have ever seen.
Christmas lights will be everywhere, lighting up the dark Swedish streets. Jul goats will be watching all your steps. All the supermarkets will be filled with a Swedish Christmas drink (Julmust), and the shelves will barely hold the tons of Gingerbread jars. It does not matter if you celebrate Christmas or not. You will see Lucia, you will hear Hannukah candle-lighting songs on the tram, and everyone will be even a bit nicer than us ual.
Yes, it’s cold, yes, it’s dark. But you know what? If that’s the price I have to pay just to see this, then I’m willing to!
All I Want For Christmas Is …
…. fooooooood! Oh yes. The day where all the preparation, all the endless cleaning, big family fights, and infinite supermarket cues make all sense finally. The Christmas feast.The one and only. I genuinely think that I (and If you’re reading this.. you as well) have outgrown the age, where I (We!) deeply care about presents. We still like receiving them. Maybe we even find more joy giving them BUT! There’s absolutely nothing better than stuffing your belly until you have to excuse yourself and unbutton your jeans and lay down on the sofa… and prepare for more food, of course. 3 days of constant eating. Without guilt, without regrets (short-term regrets are possible due to the sudden pigging out thou). ! And of course, we all make the same new year’s resolution… see you all in the gym in January!
Tip: Think ahead and ask Santa for a gym membership (: and/or for bigger jeans.
If you’re staying in Sweden for the holidays, I highly recommend you to organize a dinner, where you can even share some of the traditional holiday food from your countries.
Santa Claus is coming to town
You better watch out! I don’t know-how, and I don’t know when, but my money really likes to go on adventures around the Holidays. It could be the Christmas elf, or it could be another divine miracle, but any kind of currency all of a sudden despises the inside of my wallet. Well As a student I say, the less, the better…. (Nope, not really)
When we were small, me and my sister we got presents as well, but since we were fortunate enough to have a roof above our heads, all our needs were met, and we had a VERY LOUD but loving family, presents were always secondary and rather symbolic. Therefore when it comes to buying gifts, I’d instead make something with my hands or purchase something very-very small, just to show my loved ones the gratitude that they’re part of my life and thank them for it.
IT IS SO HARD TO RESIST! I am angry at Sweden. All these beautiful, hand-crafted, recycled, traditional, and modern knick-knacks. Oh, how much I hate them! But oh how much I need all of them :(. I really had to force myself not to buy entire shops (and then starve for weeks).
Tip: Do a good old Secret Santa, where you have to CRAFT presents, instead of buying something unnecessary.
Run Rudolph Run
All I want for Christmas is rock and roll… No matter where are you, what are your beliefs and traditions are, the most important is to stop for a few days and relax. (Pssst…If you’re interested in Swedish Christmas, check out Daniel’s fantastic writing. )
I almost finished my first two modules of my very first semester, and I feel exhausted. It has been very tough, but it was all very worth it. Christmas is a very great opportunity to excuse yourself from your books and give up your favorite spot in the library.
Head home (wherever it is, in Sweden or somewhere else), bake some cookies, watch a cheesy Christmas movie (my personal favorite is the Love Actually or the Elf, but the new Klaus is not bad either), listen to Mariah Carey (check out Sia’s album though), and DO NOTHING work or study-related. I am sure you’re computer will not miss you for a few days either.
What is your traditional Christmas dish? Let me know!